Rex Ryan got the contract extension that he wanted Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported on Thursday. The extension ensures the Jets will avoid fielding a lame duck coach, but it does little in the way of ensuring long-term continuity. In essence, the extension was a one year reprieve for Ryan, but it’s little more than that.
Rapoport indicates the extension includes one additional guaranteed year for Rex Ryan as well as more unguaranteed years. The contract will keep Ryan in New York through the 2015 season.
Moving on from a competent coach is rarely an intelligent move by a front office, and it’s even rarer to see teams hire a superior coach. In this offseason alone, we’ve seen coaches hitting the road and being replaced by men of equal or lesser talent. Even worse, some teams *cough* Browns *cough* fire their top coach with no idea what direction they’re moving.
By extending Ryan’s contract, assistant coaches benefit by gaining a shred more job security than they had going into a season with a lame duck at the helm. This helps prevent a mass exodus of assistant coaches heading for greener pastures. Because it appears that owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik have Ryan’s back, retaining important assistants shouldn’t be a problem for the Jets.
From a personnel perspective, the move makes even more sense, especially if the Jets really are committed to developing Geno Smith. There’s no better way to sabotage a young quarterback than to surround him with a different set of coaches year in and year out. Alex Smith never blossomed until he was given continuity in San Francisco on a year over year basis.
Additionally, there’s no questioning the job Ryan has done with New York’s defense. The Jets finished ranked 22nd in defending the pass and 3rd in defending the run. Obviously, the Jets weren’t great in pass defense, but being ranked 22nd is a misnomer. The Jets were able to force opponents to pass by rendering their ground attack useless. Part of their 22nd ranked pass defense has to be attributed to their ability to stuff the ground attack, not necessarily their inability to cover downfield.
Giving Rex Ryan an extension was a smart move by the Jets. Even if they decide to fire him following the 2014 campaign, the additional year’s salary they’ll owe him won’t be a huge chunk of money to swallow in the grand scheme of things, and the extension gives players, coaches and even the front office more peace of mind moving forward. Ryan has shown an ability to coach winning teams before, but he’s lacked the roster talent in recent years to push the Jets over the top. This season’s group was never talented enough to make a deep playoff run, but Ryan had them in the postseason discussion, and he’s been rightly rewarded for his work.